This sunday following Valentine's Day Pastor Timothy Corder tells us the real meaning of love. What is love? Who is love? Find out here when Pastor Corder looks into the passage 1 John 4:7-12
Love –(?) what love are we talking about!
John talks to us about love. You’re a smart congregation but, let’s make sure we know exactly what John is talking about. He had a choice of four Greek words.
First, John could have used the Greek word "eros." This kind of love is usually associated with romantic love. This love seeks to get something from another. So let’s call it a "getting" love.
Second, he could have used the word "stergo." This is what normal people have for one another. The love shown among neighbors who help each other out. This is the love which recognizes we are dependent upon one another. So I call it a "sharing" love.
Third, John could have used the word "philos." This is the love among friends. This is where we get Philadelphia this is a love which takes pleasure in someone's friendship and company. So let’s call it a "Brotherly" love.
Fourth, is the word "agape." This is a love which compels one to sacrifice for the good of the other person. This love seeks to give rather than to get. So we’ll call it a "giving" love. This is the word in our text vs 10. Maybe why it is said “It’s more blessed to give than receive”-God’s way.
Now that we know which love is being spoken of, let's take a brief look at what love is not. He says, "This is love: not that we loved God ..." It’s not what we bring to the table, (1 Jn 4:10). Love is not something we give or bring to God. Love is something we find impossible to give or to bring to God as sinners. Rm. 8:7 “sinful minds are hostile toward God.” In fact, I have a natural tendency to hate God enmity rather than to love God. In Eph. 2:16 we find the cross has slain the enmity.
Not only do I have a natural tendency to hate God, I also have a natural tendency to hate my neighbor. Love is not shown by man’s sinful nature. Agapa - Love is foreign to man.
II) God’s love to us! Agapa- perfect Love
A When it comes to love, man is a failure. But God isn't. Listen to what John says: (1Jn 4:10) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
There you have it: God is love and God shows love.
Now, don't forget the kind of love we are talking about. It is not a "getting" love. Nor is it a "sharing" love. Nor is it a "Brotherly" love. Rather, it is a "giving" love. What does God give? God gives "his one and only Son" (1 Jn 4:9). This is how God shows His love. Not only does God give "his one and only Son" but He gives "his one and only Son" "as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 Jn 4:10).
In Eph. 5 we are told the way we are to love each other is to imitate Christ; and then we are shown further the giving love of Jesus, symbolize in the husband- wife scenario.
When the Bible talks about God's love, the cross is in mind. (1Jn 4:10) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
B First, "atoning sacrifice" means Christ is perfect. Without blemish. Without flaw. Without sin. He purposely lived a sinless life. He perfectly submitted to God's eternal plan for our salvation. But, then, remember the teaching of the Old Testament? The atoning sacrifice, the lamb of atonement, needed to be perfect in every way. Jesus is the perfect Lamb of God – the perfect atoning sacrifice. In Eph. 5 again it talks about Christ present her (the church-the Bride) to himself without spot or blemish, how does he do this? Making her holy (26).
Second, "atoning sacrifice" means it removes our sin and the guilt of our sin; our sin is washed away by the blood of Christ.
Christ's atoning sacrifice does something for God – namely, His wrath and holy anger and displeasure with sin has been appeased. Don't forget that God hates sin; only Jesus, is able to deal with our sin and God's anger against our sin. Only Jesus’ blood can wash our sin away and only HIS blood can satisfy Fathers justice.
Picture this with blood dripping from one hand Jesus reached down from the cross, placing his hand on our head, covering our sin, with His other blood dripping hand Jesus reached up taking Fathers hand satisfying his need for justice and through Jesus we are rejoined with father and given eternal life. (1Jn 4:10) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son.
III) Our Love ...
To one another
We can't stop here. We can't stop at God's love for undeserving sinners; Because Scripture does not stop here. (1Jn 4:11) Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
See the connection between God's love and ours? Because God loves us, we ought to love one another. Furthermore, God's love enables us to love. Listen to verse 19: "We love because he first loved us. Example and ability.
Do you see what we are called to do? We are called to love one another with Father's love. Here is what happens: God's love flows in us and through us and to others. And, don't forget what this love is. It is a "giving" love. It is agape love. It is a love that sacrifices for the good of the other person. It is a love which is shown without seeking anything in return. It is a love which seeks to give rather than to get.
"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 Jn 4:11). How do we know if we show God's love to one another?
If we love one another with Father's love, then we will forgive one another and ask for forgiveness of one another. We become imitators of Christ in God once forgiving, - then forgetting the offences of each other and presenting one another to other without the spots and blemishes. If we love one another with Father's love, then we remember to pray for one another.
Lastly: Our love for God: We can love one another only because God's love is in us. Likewise, we can love God only because God's love is in us. We are to return to God what He has put in us.
How do we know if we love God? Those who love God, obey His commandments. (Jn 14:15). Now, I know you may struggle with well did God give His one and only Son for us to get us to love Him back? God sent his one and only son for all humanity, but only; who so ever will, will receive this gift and recognize the true intent of this agapa!
Those who love God, want others to have God's love. So, they tell others about God and Christ and the cross and grave and resurrection. They are involved in missions and evangelism.
I have to say something about our church's General Fund. Those who love God, give sacrificially for the church and kingdom. A number of you live very tightly on your budgets. Yet, you love the Lord and His church and His kingdom so much; you keep up your giving to the church. That is love, agape love, love which compels you to give sacrificially.
Let us remember what love is all about. It starts with God and Christ and an atoning sacrifice. It ends with us taking that love and showing it to each other and giving it back to God.